Photos Matter

I cannot tell you how sad it makes me when I see handmade work photographed poorly. Or anything you are trying to sell photographed poorly.

Listen, photographs are what keep people looking, stop them in their tracks, contemplate the item. Can they see it in their home? Is it photographed for an online store or Craigslist?

I am not knocking Craiglist either, it has its purpose. But if you are going to open up a shop, your photographs should be better than Craigslist.

Do you need to buy fancy lights and a $5,000 camera? No. I 100% do not think that is necessary. But you DO need to know what looks good and what doesn’t look good.

These are photographs straight from Anthropologies website. Yes, that is a major company. But just look. Consistent backgrounds, consistent lighting, the feeling you get is these are already in your kitchen and you cannot wait to use them OR maybe that is just me.


And these are from a random Etsy shop. So already we see the difference. Yellow tints, dark shadows, plants in the background. I gather that this shop owner is a reseller of vintage items which is awesome but the photographs look like what you might see on craigslist.

And if you do not believe me, these are from Craigslist.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.07.05 PM.png

See what I mean? The difference is one is just for getting rid of and the other is a place of E-commerce. Maybe you are trying to make a living that way. So there should be differences between Etsy photos are Craigslist photos.

I offer product photography services to help you get images like these.

A white background is classic. It makes the photograph all about your item. If you made it or not, if you are trying to sell it, photograph it the best way possible. If you or someone you know could use some help in the department. I offer product photography services here Product Photography Service, also, if you have a set up and a camera but are having trouble make it all work together, I also offer Photography Mentor Video Chat sessions.


Change to Save the Change

Wednesday! The last Wednesday of January 2017. What? Yes, there is only one week left until February. January was a month full of lessons learned for me. I will be very honest here. When I was in my younger day and working full time, I did not know how to budget or how to save money.

Here I am, 28 years old, turns out I still do not know how to budget or save money. I learned this the super hard way by being THIS close (how else do you show that gesture) to not being able to pay for my son’s school tuition next month.

(Thankfully I get to tell my husband that after 2 sales in the Etsy shop, I WILL be able to pay this month!)

Before that, I already told my husband I was short and he assured me not to worry, it would get paid. But I felt so disappointed in myself that I wasn’t paying attention. That I did not keep better track of my balance. I was even closer to over drafting people. I felt the same way I did when I was working full time and living pay check to pay check. Being scared to open utility bills and avoiding phone calls.

But this time it is not just me I am working for.

It is for my son. My son LOVES school. He is really thriving in it. His teachers love him, some moms tell me that their kids talk about my kid all the time at home. He has friends, he loves the activities they do.

It is a Methodist Preschool and my son has come home praying and with little Jesus figures, most beloved is his baby Jesus made out of a sock. He carries it with him around the house.

That said, my husband and I are not too classicly religious. He was raised Catholic and now is an Athiest and I am Buddhist. So I have looked other schools that are more academic based than a religion based.

And in my research it occurred to me if I had trouble saving the tuition for his school now, I would definitely have trouble saving the tuition of other schools because, holy crap, they are expensive.

Odds are, we will keep him in this school. Because he loves his teachers, and he loves his friends. AND I would like him to learn about other religions so that when he is old he can make it own choices.

But still, that doesn’t take away from I need to get my butt in gear about this money karma I have. I need to stay on top of myself.

So if you have any awesome, proven to work money saving tips, please share them in the comments below! 




Not Retreating From What Works For You

Good morning! Happy Wednesday! It is a Happy Wednesday. Even if yesterday’s were not so happy. If you know me on facebook or real life, you know that yesterday was a hard day for me.

Not even the whole day! Most of the day was great! Dinner time. Dinner time ruined my whole day. My son is almost 3 and like any other almost 3 year old, he refuses to eat dinner. Breakfast and lunch? Sure! Dinner? Definitely not going to happen. Unless it is a hot dog and mac n cheese, which is what he will be having tonight.

Ok so last night, as soon as he saw what was for dinner, he decided he did not like it. I started to feel super overwhelmed with anger mostly. I cooked, he should at least try it. We will sit here until you eat it. Ok, no movie after dinner, no toys after dinner, sit hear until bed time.

None of these threats worked. In an effort to not lose my shit, oh yeah, I say shit, hope that is ok. In an effort to not lose my shit, I took to FB live in my favorite mom group. Drank my wine and vented about this whole dinner nonsense. Most the women totally got it and talked about their own dinner related struggles.

One mom, however, pointed out that I am probably making a bigger deal out of if than I should be. I put pressure on myself to make my son eat. Is it a “worry” thing? Sure, but he eats all day, I know he is ok, not going to starve. Is it a control thing? This… this is probably more of what it is.

I have noticed my tendency to get angry. I instantly feel icky about myself when I am aware I feel this way and do not know what to do.

So I did what every parent does once in a while. I googled it. How do I stop being an angry parent? I found an amazing article that broke it down step by step, from the very beginning of feeling that inkling of rage. Rage may seem like an over exaggeration, but I assure you it is not. I remember feeling the same type of rage 7 years ago when I was in the worst time period of my life. I also call her, my dragon lady. Hello dragon lady, I feel you still in there and trying to control me again.


The articles steps were clear: Stop, Breathe, Listen.

Stop when you feel it. Breathe to let it go. And listen to yourself, listen to the things you want to say before you say them. Listen to your kid. Listen to the reality of the situation and is it as
bad as you are about to make it seem.

Doesn’t sound too bad. Sounds like how I learned to control it 7 years ago. How did I stop 7 years ago? Magically right before I met my husband, I had been introduced to Buddhism which was like nothing I had ever been taught before.

Talking with a friend who also practices last night, reminded me that one bad dinner should not have taken away from how great yesterday as a whole was. She was right. I had let it take down my whole day.

I say all this to say that if you find something that works for you, do not stop. Even when it seems you have everything under control. You don’t. And that is ok! If you are like me, you might need that support by something bigger than yourself. I chant. Maybe you pray. Maybe you meditate. Good! I am glad you have those things! Your family is glad you have those things!

What solidified it for me was the other day when my husband said to me “Everyone knows when you are not chanting.”


And I know too. I feel it. I feel depressed, I feel angry, I feel impatient. Getting started again is so hard. I feel like Spider-Man fighting the venom stuff that takes over his whole body. But with resources and daily practice, we can fight back!

Here’s to fighting for our happiness!img_4359




Who is Mamabird?

Mamabird is a nickname about 7 years in the making.

I used to work at an F.Y.E., do you remember those? Some cities still have one or two. We sold movies and music. I worked with my now best friend at the time. One day, she called me an early bird. That launched into a hysterical conversation about how cute Bambi is when he says bird the first time.

That launched into a hysterical conversation about how cute Bambi is when he says bird the first time.

I am sorry to customers who had to listen to Bird-DAH a million times that day.

From that day, Bird just stuck. Shirley bird is my personal Instagram and when it came time to pick a name for my new freelance photo company, Mama Bird just seemed like the next step.

Now with an Etsy shop selling mugs, surprise surprise,

Mamabird Mugs was born.

What started as a work name, nickname, and now a new work name. So I am Mamabird.

A music and movies loving mom of an almost 3-year-old, loves to drive and sing loudly (badly) in the car, married for 3 years, has lived in like 5 states Shirley.

I am both mug and font obsessed and with my handy dandy Cricut, I am able to produce fun fonts to upcycle thrift mugs. If you would like to check them out, go here Mamabird Mugs Etsy Shop

Now you know me! Who are you? Got any fun facts?



Out with old, In with the New

Hello Hello Hello!

How are you? Happy New Year! I can still say that right? It is still January after all.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. I started this blog around the time I was starting to find myself again after being a stay at home mom for so long.

I was dipping my feet back into photography and doing product photography for shops.

But something was still missing for me, for my creativity. I was given the amazing opportunity to try something totally new and different and fell in love with it.

I started upcycling mugs and bowls with funny phrases and affirmations and some seriously inappropriate things as well, because we cannot take life too seriously, right?

I opened an Etsy shop in August 2016 and have been having so much fun meeting people and making custom items. Seeing people love my mugs and designs has been the exact boost I needed in life. It has made me feel truly fulfilled to be contributing financially to my family by paying for my sons’ school tuition! Me, a homemaker with a passion for fonts, paying for my sons’ school!

It has been quite a ride and I have learned a lot but only an inkling of everything there is to learn!

I hope 2017 has been great for you so far!

2017 Inkwell Press Planner Review: Purpose vs. Productive

If you looked at that title and thought, 2017? It is not even October yet! I know and I am with you but as these years fly by, changes are coming with them.

I posted on IG last night about how as much as  I love my son, and I love staying home and  nurturing him, raising him is all def my purpose, it does not make me feel productive.

Watching as your clean kitchen, living room, or bathroom gets destroyed every single day does not leave me feeling productive. But, this business I have started, on Etsy Mamabird Mugs does make me feel so crazy product and good!

I am communicating with adult human beings, making them something they love and sending it off to enjoy its new home.

That whole process is revealing itself to be amazing. So I say all this to say that I was searching for a way to feel more productive about my business and life especially when you hit ebbs and flows.


Enter: Inkwell press planner. I had seen and have been following them on IG for quite some time, swooning over fonts and designs and quality. But I always thought, I do not have enough going to need a beautiful planner like that. Now, I do and now I deserve something beautiful and uplifting to use to keep track of my day to day.

There she is! The one I have loved since I saw it. That coral so warm and pretty and the calm blue arrow blended into that wood background as a beautiful simple reminder to just keep moving forward.


The Seventeen is written in Gold foil, really a beautiful touch. img_3484

This little graphic is actually on the bookmark that comes with the planner. There are a lot of sayings and motivating quotes throughout this planner but it makes me so happy that this is on the bookmark. Consistently, every day I will open it up and be reminded that today is my day. Even if yesterday wasn’t, or the days before that, or the days before that.

Just lovely details. img_3500

Like this Daily habit tracker!

I am the worst at drinking water. I don’t know why, well I do, I hate water but I know I should drink it, my husband tells me all the time. I am so looking forward to being able to show him how much better I will be doing with these accomplishment bubbles.

The color palette thru the whole planner is inviting. It wants to be used in a positive way to help you out.

These were just clearly designed with you and I in mind. I love it. I cannot wait to use it.

Wishing you a good end to 2016 and a great 2017!

Find more info on more products by Inkwell Press Here


Warning: Feeling Sappy!

Hello, hello Hey-lloh.

Things have been slow on the blog, there goes a tumbleweed.

But things have been picking up in life!

I opened an Etsy shop, my son started school a couple weeks ago, 5 days a week! Crazy. So now I drop him off at 9:15, run to the post office, come home make an order and pick him up at 12pm! And do it all over again.

He LOVES school you guys. The way home, all I hear, is More School, More School.. over and over and over. Until we watch and finish the Dinosaur movie and then it is More Dinosaur movie, More Dinosaur movie…

Anyways, with him starting school and loving it and I am feeling about the Etsy shop, I am really hoping this becomes a substantial endeavor. But it also makes me think that I do not have very long before Ben really is in school full time and that he is growing up. He already doesn’t need me to rock him while we sing songs before bed. He just jumps right up, hugs his stuffed turtle and Grover and listens to me sing, probably thinking, why are you still singing, Mom?

Tonight we watched the Avengers. We had to fast forward all the times the Hulk was not shown because my son was just saying More Hulk More Hulk. Which was fine because we had to fast forward a lot of the violent stuff too.

I say all this because I do not want to forget. When we first moved to GA and Ben was sleeping in his crib in his own room, struggled with bedtime a little bit. But when we started to read books and sing songs things got better. But then I introduced a “wind down conversation” if you will. We just talk about everything we did that day, what we ate, who we saw, where we went, what we watched, played etc.

And then one day, I made up a poem. Right off the fly and no sleep probably. But I have not skipped saying one day since. And now, at 2.5, my son says it with me. Now that I am not holding him while singing or talking, I see in his face how he immediately started to calm down and long blink his little eyes as soon as he hears the first line.

We all make-up shit for our kids. Songs, dances, poems, whatever. I just don’t want to forget it, or, he forgets it because I love him and it’s our thing and I will probably incorporate into a speech at his wedding! I’m not crying!

I typed it up and here it is. Maybe your baby might like it!

Who knows, babies are so weird.


My bedtime poem to my son every night.